Rhonda Santos, (508) 852-8044
Suzanne Bond, (301) 851-4070
Washington, September 16, 2013 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) today announced efforts to protect Ohio’s East Fork State Park against the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) by conducting high-risk host tree removals on a portion of the East Fork Wildlife Area.
“Since signs of low infestation levels are not readily apparent on high-risk trees, they can remain unnoticed by visual surveys, and due to their proximity to known infested trees and the dispersal behavior of the insect, there is a risk of infestation on host trees in East Fork park, woodlands, and wildlife areas,” said Phillip Baldauf, APHIS project manager for the Ohio ALB Eradication Program. “The removal of high-risk host trees from the southern wildlife area is being done in an effort to protect East Fork from becoming infested and stopping the spread of this invasive pest in Ohio.”
East Fork recreational area is a federally-owned property that USACE leases to ODNR. The eradication program will removal high-risk host trees up to a quarter mile from infested trees. Tree removals will take place on approximately 55 acres of the 2,705-acre designated state wildlife area. An estimated 7,200 high-risk host trees are expected to be removed. All removal and restoration activities will follow the best management practices (BMPs) for erosion control for logging practices in Ohio. At this time, no cutting will be done on any part of the 4,870-acre East Fork State Park.
The infested trees were detected on several private properties within Tate Township that abut the edges of the wildlife area. Infested trees were identified through tree inspection surveys conducted by eradication program staff as part of the ongoing ALB eradication efforts in Clermont County.
The use of high-risk host removals is part of an integrated approach in eradicating the invasive insect. High-risk host tree removals have been used in every State where ALB eradication operations have taken place – New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Ohio. ALB high-risk host tree removals began in Tate Township this past May on properties where landowners have provided permission.
The beetle was discovered in Tate Township, Ohio in June 2011. To control the pest in Clermont County, 61-square miles are regulated, which includes all of Tate Township and East Fork State Park, a portion of Monroe Township, and a portion of Stonelick/Batavia Townships. To date, the Ohio eradication program has detected 10,195 infested trees, removed 9,952 infested trees and 8,912 high-risk host trees, and surveyed more than 665,000 trees.
The area identified for high-risk host tree removals to take place at this time is around portions of Sugar Tree Creek and Poplar Creek, located southeast of Woodruff Road and north of State Route 125. High-risk host tree removals may be conducted in other areas of the wildlife area as infested trees are identified in or near the wildlife area, suitable work plans are developed, and sufficient resources are allocated. The program will seek landowner permission to conduct high-risk host removals on the properties abutting the wildlife area. If landowner consent is not granted for the removal of high-risk host trees on these properties, then additional survey work will continue and host trees would be removed only if they are subsequently identified as infested.
The eradication program will use the existing removal contract with Davey Tree Expert Company to conduct the high-risk host tree removals. Program officials will be on location daily for removal operations. The program is still delimiting the infestation in Tate Township and surveys will determine the full extent of the infestation.
Members of the public are encouraged to inspect their trees for signs of damage caused by the insect and report any suspicious findings. The sooner an infestation is reported, the sooner efforts can be made to quickly contain and isolate the area from future destruction. Firewood and other regulated articles are prohibited from leaving the quarantined areas. People should not move firewood, because doing so can unintentionally spread the pest. For more information, please visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov or www.asianlonghornedbeetle.com or call the Ohio ALB Eradication Program directly at 513-381-7180 or toll-free at 1-866-702-9938.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
Note to Reporters: USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet and through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. Go to the APHIS news release page at www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom and click on the RSS feed link.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).